Maui Post-Fire Community Drinking-Water Information Hub
This page is maintained by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) in partnership with University of Hawaiʻi Maui College (UHMC) and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources as a community information resource and hub to other relevant sources of information. It will be updated as frequently as possible to serve the rapidly changing needs of our community. While this page is not associated with the County of Maui Department of Water Supply (DWS) or the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH), we are informed by these agencies and hope that our efforts support their important work.
Wildfires can damage buried drinking water systems, building plumbing, catchment systems, and private drinking water wells making them unsafe to use. This knowledge, which comes from research carried out on similar major urban-wildfire incidents, is the reason why the Lāhainā and Kula water systems were put under a Do-Not-Use Advisory by Maui DWS. While it is important to heed this advisory, many residents have come to us with questions and clarifications about the advisory and how to best keep their families safe. We hope this page helps inform our community as we navigate through these challenging times together.
Disclaimer: This page aims to provide the most current and reliable information available, but we cannot be held liable for its accuracy nor can we vouch for the safety of the water for drinking purposes. Our main goal is to centralize Maui water information in response to a community need.
If you have any questions, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are Hiring for a Lāhaina Community Water Sampling Specialist
Please CLICK HERE to see the Job Ad!
To apply email resume and cover letter to email@example.com
Position is part-time, independent work, and flexible schedule to support community tap-water sampling
Maui county has posted an official
They include updates, links, and FAQs, too.
(Click link above to access)
While we will continue to post updates and FAQs to our information hub, we recommend accessing the official county site for up to date information, and if you have questions or would like to share updates that are not available there, please contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will continue to do our best to fill the gaps through our hub.
Am I inside of the Do-Not-Use Advisory Area? Visit the Water Advisory Address and Owner Name Locator for an interactive map of water advisories from the Department of Water Supply (DWS)
Access DWS water sampling data directly on the map viewer. Zoom in and click on point icons to see lab reports from VOC tests conducted by the County at hydrants and water meters throughout the burn zones.
Maui Do-Not-Use Drinking Water Notice FAQs
WRRC Maui Drinking-Water Updates
County Representatives will be holding an Upcountry Community Meeting at 6 p.m on Wednesday September 20. The meeting will be held at the Mayor Hannibal Tavares Community Center in Pukalani. Akaku will air the meeting live and provide a live stream on their website, akaku.org/watch as well as via the Maui Stream app. The Department of Water Supply along with other local and federal agencies will speak on topics related to debris removal and the Unsafe Water Advisory. (Reposted from Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura’s email update as of 9-19-23)
As of September 12, the Unsafe Water Advisory has been lifted for all residents in Kula Zone 1. Lahaina and Kula Zones 2 to Zone 5 remain under the Unsafe Water Advisory. Please see the updated interactive map here, to check what Zone your home or business is in. Zones 2, 3, 4, and 5 are neighborhoods that are much closer to the areas where structures burned. The Department of Water Supply’s press release from this evening details the next steps. Here’s the link to the Press Release.
We at WRRC will continue to offer free water testing for as long as we can, even after the advisories are lifted.
(Reposted from Councilmember Yuki Lei Sugimura’s email updates)
Reporters from Hawaii News Now interviewed DWS director John Stufflebean on Friday the 8th of September, and in their published article it was reported he estimates the advisory may be lifted for 85% of Kula within a week. Other areas closer to the burn may take longer. The HNN article can be viewed HERE. Please also note that we at WRRC will continue to offer free water testing for as long as we can, even after the advisories are lifted.
The county has been making good progress in testing the water systems for VOC’s. They are sharing results on a map HERE and are also posting all of the lab reports HERE. In order to help community members sort through this large amount of data more easily, volunteers have spent time to comb through and summarize the results. THIS spreadsheet was provided by Melissa, who is a Kula community member and THIS spreadsheet was compiled by Maggie, one of our wonderful UH student volunteers. I am not a public health expert, nor do I work for an agency that regulates drinking water safety, but my professional opinion as a research hydrologist is that I do not see anything concerning in these reports. However, this is also a small amount of data and we also know that this type of contamination can be hard to detect, necessitating widespread and repeated testing. (Please also note that the county reported a potential lab contamination incident that may explain the elevated dichloromethane levels found in some samples, and we believe this compound has not been associated with other wildfires in the past.).
This seminar [LINK to recording here] was presented by Catherine Pirkle, Ph.D. and Rosana Hernandez Weldon, Ph.D., M.P.H. of the Office of Public Health Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. It covers a deep dive into the existing evidence base on the health effects of wildfires. 1.5 hours long.
Maui Community Water Sampling Requests
The University of Hawaiʻi Water Resources Research Center (UH-WRRC) is partnering with teams at UH Maui College to set up a home tap-water sampling program, which will provide free non-regulatory water quality testing to residents in affected areas.
It is important to know that these tests will NOT show if water is safe for use. DWS and DOH are conducting tests to determine if water is safe for use. Instead, WRRC tests will produce research quality, screening-level data that can be used by DOH and DWS to target regulatory level testing and will produce data that can expand our understanding of our water quality at a community level.
If detections are found, location-specific data will be shared with DWS and DOH to aid in their regulatory-level testing efforts. Data generated by these tests will be made available to individual homeowners, and will be released on this web-page in an aggregated and anonymized manner to protect personal information.
If you are interested in having your home tested please fill out this form bit.ly/3YHzheL or scan the QR code. We will work to get back to you as soon as we can with more information.
- Purdue University, the Center for Plumbing Safety: Response and Recovery to Wildfire Caused Drinking Water Contamination
- Maui County Press Releases and Alerts
- Department of Water Supply Home page and News Flashes
- Maui Wildfire Response - Hawaii State Department of Health
This is a collaborative initiative between the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa WRRC in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources
Funding is provided by UH Mānoa and the NSF